We Californians love our dogs-and our state parks. But we're often frustrated by regulations that restrict canine visitors to parking lots and campgrounds. Only a few parks allow dogs to accompany their people on trails and on beaches. DogTrekker.com wants to change that and needs your help. The state parks' new leadership wants to ensure that the parks are 'available to everyone'. Please join our campaign to let them know that now is the time to stop unfairly excluding dog lovers from this mandate.
Last May, DogTrekker.com published a letter sent to Elizabeth Goldstein, president of the California State Parks Foundation, and other key administrators. The message stemmed from years of personal frustration of dog owners not being able to recreate and enjoy our state parks, as well as the seeming lack of interest by the foundation in even researching the issue.
In the letter, we provided five reasons why state-park policy concerning dog access should change. Included was a plan for experimenting with dog access through a program in which dog owners would register online and pay a small yearly fee for trail and beach access. If put into place, a plan such as this would increase much-needed revenue for the struggling state-park system.
We also talked about the foundation’s 2013 California State Parks Survey, which asked more than 100 questions about usage, amenities, features and more, yet did not once mention the word “dog.” Yes, off-roading and dirt-bike riding were included in the survey, but no question concerning dog access was asked.
Hundreds of you wrote back to us, to Ms. Goldman and to other state bureaucrats, but we heard nothing back. Making matters worse is a 2014 survey recently sent to foundation members. The questionnaire is similar to the 2013 version, and again, the subject of dogs is not addressed. We’re not sure if this is an oversight or intentional, but either way, action needs to be taken.
Action Plan: California State Parks mark its 150th anniversary in 2014 . A new California State Parks Director, Major General Anthony L. Jackson, USMC (Ret.) is now in command. Director Jackson is committed to making our parks “more accessible to all of the people in California.” Governor Jerry Brown has a keen interest in making sure our parks grow and thrive. Many initiatives are in place to insure that the parks are open to all (except visitors with dogs) to enjoy. Now is the time to act.
Instead of a write-in campaign this time, DogTrekker.com will soon meet with the leadership of the California State Parks to present a comprehensive dog access plan. We need your assistance in completing our own survey, which will provide some teeth behind our strategy. Please take s few moments to complete this short survey. We’ll even draw three lucky winners who will receive a Frequent Visitor State Parks pass. It includes a 150th Year Commemorative Vehicle Day Use Pass, a Historian Passport Day Use Pass and 10 percent off camping reservations. We hope all DogTrekkers will join our campaign to expand dog access in California State Parks. Thanks in advance for your valuable input.
Photos: Park sign, Dave Kendrick. Dogs at Asilomar Beach, Derek (CC).